Al's Ramblings



Sunday, September 30, 2007

(9/30/2007 08:32:00 PM) - Al

Why did BUD left Tomko in there for so long? He should've bring in a new pitcher for the 5th inning with a 4-2 LEAD! Everything that could've gone wrong in this inning DID went wrong. Lets hope we can just get out of it and go hacking next inning! WE NEED TO WIN THIS!!!--Padres' MLB message board

Heh. This is hilarious for a couple reasons, one, tell me the last time you recall a pitcher being removed with the lead in the 5th, and two, if you'll recall, the bullpen today did not exactly "slam the door".

I pity these poor strategical geniuses having to watch these pathetic MLB managers make decisions...in real time. It's so much easier if you wait 'til later.

FYI, Hoffman is getting destroyed over there, as apparently, no one has figured out Gwynn hit a very nice change-up that was not even a strike it was so low. Sometimes, you just gotta tip your cap.


9/30/2007 08:32:00 PM



(9/30/2007 06:56:00 PM) - Al

I've been embarrassed by the behavior of the Miller Park crowds several times this year, and many Brewers, including Fielder and Linebrink, have commented on the constant negative feedback, often caused by such tragic events as bloop hits and ground balls through the hole.

Today, the crowd did what they always should, cheer loudly and consistently because that's what you do for the home team. It was very kind of management to take Jenkins out the way they did, and I assume Doug very well may have discussed it with Ned. We all know it is extremely unlikely the Crew will accept his option, but if he is indeed willing to be paid like a platoon or bench player (I'm not sure how they would use him), he could return.

LF is by far the most interesting position on the 2008 Brewers, because it could be a cheap platoon of Gross and Dillon, an expensive free agent signing, or maybe even Jenkins and Mench again, though I strongly doubt it. It will be one of the more interesting things to see this offseason.


9/30/2007 06:56:00 PM



(9/30/2007 01:46:00 PM) - Al

Bud Selig mentioned on the Fox broadcast yesterday that it's hard to believe now, but when they first installed the wildcard, many were against it.

It sounds funny now, but that's true, mostly old diehards who feel batting gloves and night games should be eliminated...and aren't really sold on indoor plumbing either.

Seig has done more for the game in his dozen years than all the other commissioners in history.


9/30/2007 01:46:00 PM



(9/30/2007 11:29:00 AM) - Al

With a game to go, which we know won't change full season stats much to speak of, the old boring standby, AB x OBP x SLG = runs scored, is 98.3% accurate, with the projection predicting 790 runs for the average team, with the actual being 777 runs.

I have often said that formula is 98% accurate, and many say it is not, citing outliers such as the lowest team usually measures about 91% or so. That is a classic response that I find amusing, taking a large sample of numbers and trying to disprove it with a much smaller sampling. Others say it's some kind of consistent, statistical fluke, because the formula does not take such things as team speed, stolen bases, bunting, "making contact" or "being clutch" into consideration. Seeing as how it works out every single year just about the same, I have come to the conclusion those petty things, while not meaningless, sure don't mean a whole lot either.

It's like Aaron Gleeman says, while the press often goes on and on about "doing the little things", I would much prefer my favorite team concerns itself with "the big things".

By the way, the Crew's total is 95.7% accurate. Offense is about not getting out and smacking the ball, my friends. Pitching and defense is about preventing the same. All the rest is for the lawyers.


9/30/2007 11:29:00 AM



(9/30/2007 10:57:00 AM) - Al

A comparison between the Padres and Brewers abilities to hold runners on, and to a lesser extent, to throw them out:

Brewers...2020 runners allowed, 99 stolen bases, 4.9% of runners steal a base

Padres...1889 runners, 188 steals, 9.95%

Given how much Estrada's arm has been criticized, despite the fact I'd say it's about 2/3rd's or 3/4th's the pitcher's "fault" on average, I'd say the above shows you just how overrated this stat is. The Padres have been off-the-charts bad, and they still have the best pitching in the majors, so to say it is really important to do this well is, at best incorrect, and at worst, ignorance.

Obviously, I'd prefer to have a catcher who hits and throws well, blocks everything in the dirt, and calls a great game. Of course, I'd also prefer a sharp chin, muscular build, and a sense of humor, and someone who enjoys quiet walks on the beach.

That said, if San Diego's inability to hold on/throw out runners has led them to the best ERA in MLB, I have to believe it's talked about far too much.


9/30/2007 10:57:00 AM



(9/30/2007 10:44:00 AM) - Al

The Rambling Wife and myself actually saw a movie last night, however, a tad more commercial offering than the film Robert discussed. We saw Sydney White, a cute, enjoyable film, a modern day, loosely based version of Snow White. Other than a few parents of tweens and us, the entire audience was kids between 10 and 16, but we both thought it was a good choice.

Amanda Bynes was the only person in the film I'd ever heard of, former Nickelodean and WB star. Other than the fact she was painfully tan, I can't imagine a more enjoyable young woman to watch...she exudes a wholesome quality and manages to maintain an "every girl" image (even noted in her Wikipedia entry), despite the fact every male teens' eyes were glued to the screen.


9/30/2007 10:44:00 AM



(9/30/2007 09:45:00 AM) - Robert R.

It's been awhile since I've done a movie review. But, I've been to a recent preview screening and all we're left with is the post mortem on the Brewers, so....

My Kid Could Paint That

My Kid Could Paint That is a documentary centering around Marla Olmstead and her family. Not long ago, Marla, a 4 year old, gained national attention, and a lot of money, when abstract expressionist paintings attributed to her started getting critical acclaim and sold like hotcakes. Director Amir Bar-Lev got the opportunity to film a documentary about her and her life as events took an unexpected turn.

The film obviously courts controversy as a story hook. It starts by asking whether the paintings are art in the first place. Or more precisely, good art or a novelty act? And, given the nature of modern abstract art are there standards to judge this?

Perhaps there's a movie that will really tackle those questions, although I think the art experts interviewed in the movie do a persuasive job of answering those questions, but the story takes a turn into less academic matters when 60 Minutes does a piece that basically implies that Marla is a front for her amateur artist father and sales grind to a halt. At that point the movie evolves into something exploring the nature of celebrity, the way a story is transmuted by the "news cycle", the hubris of believing that you can control a story, how observing something closely can change reactions, the elusiveness of truth, etc. The filmmaker add fuel to the fire himself by expressing his doubts directly to the audience and showing a selection of Marla's alleged paintings. Is a 4 year old, even an instinctual prodigy, really going to entitle a painting "Ode to Pollock" or "Asian Sun"? Do we see anything that implies that she has the discipline to do triptyches or groups of paintings that from a cohesive whole?

The age old issues surrounding commerce and art are raised again. How do you put value on a painting? Even if Marla didn't actually paint them or merely painted parts of them which were touched up by her father, aren't they still the same paintings? Is it the paintings that have value? The signature? The story behind the painting? Is Marla really less involved in the art
than Walt Disney, Bob Kane, or Andy Warhol, all artists that made a lot of money off of material with their name where they may only have been minimally involved. Orson Welles's F For Fake is a good companion piece for this movie which explores similar material in a quite different way (and is at least honest in its dishonesty, as ironic as that statement may be).

And, is Marla being exploited? Her parents seem to cater to her and she reportedly has $300,000 in her college fund. OTOH, getting toted around the country can't always be fun and she'll likely have to answer some difficult questions some day. The media spotlight doesn't always do favors for people.

The film also needs to be scrutinized at a level beyond the story it shows. Is the filmmaker exploiting the family? It seems very self serving when the documentarian inserts himself into the film, fans the controversy with his doubts, and proclaims himself above the superficiality of 60 Minutes while he's pursuing "the truth". Is he actually pursuing the truth or just what his instincts tell him is the best and most commercial story? He's certainly not above using cliches, such as the pretty mom with good instincts, to bolster his credibility and to shape the events into a story. The film deserves at least as much attention as Marla's art and it really needs to be viewed on two levels, the story and how the filmmaker is shaping the story.

Overall, I find it hard to separate my thoughts on the issues the film raises and that I find interesting from an objective evaluation of the film itself. I do think it is manipulative, and maybe that's a bad quality for a documentary, but I'd use the same adjective for films by Hitchcock and Speilberg. Ultimately, it's probably best to describe the movie as thought provoking and a good conversation starter and leave it at that. One thing is certain, Marla Olmstead is a great commercial hook.

My Kid Could Paint That is going to be making the art circuit tour this fall. It should show up in Milwaukee in October.

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9/30/2007 09:45:00 AM



(9/30/2007 08:09:00 AM) - Al

I was just thinking about how the internet has literally gathered massive amounts of information into one place and made it available to the masses for no charge. Just yesterday, I had what I hope turns out to be a minor medical issue. Unsure of what exactly I was suffering from, I typed my main symptom into the search engine, hit enter, and the entire first page of results all had a pair of possible ailments, and solutions to hopefully take care of it. It was as remarkable as it was simple.

About 20 years ago, I was in high school, and one of my teachers said that the personal computer had no function. Now, basically, I have an almost unlimited amount of data available to me on nearly any subject.

If I did not witness it myself, I don't think I'd believe it.


9/30/2007 08:09:00 AM



(9/30/2007 12:02:00 AM) - Al

I forgot to mention that I did not know Matt V was doing a Uecker imitation until after he explained it. Oh, the hilarity.

I'm sure glad some people like his foolishness, as it keeps him off the streets. I sure don't miss that stupidity on Brewers' broadcasts.


9/30/2007 12:02:00 AM


Saturday, September 29, 2007

(9/29/2007 10:07:00 PM) - Al

Rottino was mobbed after rounding first base, while Brewers starter Dave Bush -- who pitched 6 2/3 innings, surrendered three runs and was on the hook for the loss before Gwynn's clutch hit -- ran to left field to gather up the baseball. Bush presented it after the game to Stetter.

"His first big league win," Bush said. "That's a keepsake I have, and I'm sure he will appreciate it, too."


I just can't see favorite son of the organization Dave Bush not returning next season. He pitches between starts, always volunteering to do so, is a fine athlete, and does stuff like that. As odd as it sounds for a guy who may well be a reliever next April if everyone is healthy, he'd probably be the one pitcher I'd try and lock up for a while.


9/29/2007 10:07:00 PM



(9/29/2007 09:32:00 PM) - Al

I was happy to see the win, but I always am, of course. Those who think Gwynn would fit in nicely somewhere on this team will have some ammo to fight with all offseason now. I think he'll start for years somewhere, and still feel my Dave Roberts comparison is very valid. That said, Hall in an off year will outproduce him offensively, and since the 50th game or so, Bill has been very competent in CF, and will only improve. I think tony will either be a reserve in '08 or may well bring us a relief pitcher in the coming months.

I am surprised to see the hub-bub about win #82. I guess it's better than 81, but worrying about something like that is exactly that short-term behavior that tends to make me shake my head. This is a very good core regardless of whether they would have won 78, 81, or 85 games.

I glanced at the box score and a couple things struck me, one is that it seemed like Ned really had a handle on things today...yep, it's pretty easy being a manager when your bullpen never allows a single run.:)

Funny how the second guessers don't have a thing to say when that happens...and no one seems to understand how foolish that makes them seem. I do find it odd SD used Thatcher the way they did, as that sidearm motion makes him very suseptible to getting pounded by RH hitters...especially Braun, who destroys lefties even moreso than Mench. But, if Vinny's ball is a foot toward the line, Joe might well have got out of the frame.

It's also a lot easier when you can empty your bench, mixing and matching your bench and role players, and after all that, still have a capable bat like Vinny available. I thought for sure that line drive was right at the 3B, as he has hit in some terrible luck since his recall. One finally made it through.

When I did my bullpen rundown earlier, I kind of left Chris Spurling out of it, as I don't see him as having a high enough ceiling to justify keeping. That said, if you take out his appearance right after returning from bereavement leave when his child had been injured, he's been a solid, if unspectacular relief guy, both durable and keeping the ball down and in the park. I have little doubt he'll have a job somewhere next year in the majors, so he might as well be considered in Milwaukee.


9/29/2007 09:32:00 PM



(9/29/2007 06:22:00 PM) - Al

I have to imagine Nix is horrible versus LHP, so I think Corey will be swinging away.


9/29/2007 06:22:00 PM



(9/29/2007 06:20:00 PM) - Al

Again, how does Braun look so awful during every PA, and then drill a double?

It's astounding, and it happens enough where you know it's not a fluke.


9/29/2007 06:20:00 PM



(9/29/2007 01:53:00 PM) - Al

The Rambling son took part in his school district's "fun run" today, which was a fund raiser for the cross-country team. His age group ran 400 meters, and he came in 8th...which is much more impressive if you leave out the little piece of info that informs the reader there were 9 participants.

My son tries hard, but is not aided by his length stride, which comes from his mom being 5 feet tall and his dad being 6-3, yet having a 30 inch inseam. Based on his running prowess, he may well be attending a private school whose games against top schools are often described as "a way to raise funds for the athletic department".

I did notice how much fun the cross country kids seemed to be having. There's something to be said about being involved in a co-ed sport, I guess, even if it involves running long distances.


9/29/2007 01:53:00 PM



(9/29/2007 01:47:00 PM) - Al

Dave Pinto chuckles at the reasons the press gives for keeping Cecil Cooper.

I admit, I'm shocked he kept the job, as the Astros looked to be playing at half-speed when the Crew played them...that said, so did the Cardinals for the most part.


9/29/2007 01:47:00 PM



(9/29/2007 09:10:00 AM) - Al

I'll be honest, when I first heard of this little plan, my first thought was the Seinfeld where Elaine suggested everyone wear name tags. The difference, I then realized, is that name tags would not cost a kijillion dollars a year.

I'm not even sure what I dislike about it most, the way no thought has even been given as to how to pay for this, or the "turn 18, get cash" goofiness of it.


9/29/2007 09:10:00 AM



(9/29/2007 09:03:00 AM) - Al

Of the charter members of the first Forbes 400, only 32 remain today. Far from a country where only the rich get richer, the wealthy in the US are very much a moving target. While there are 74 Forbes 400 members who inherited their entire fortune, 270 members are entirely self-made. Though many attended Harvard, Yale and Princeton, there are countless stories within of high school and college dropouts, not to mention others who grew up extremely poor--John Tamny

Every other day I read about some kid who is younger than some of my socks creating or selling a company worth millions.

{Note to self: Buy new socks.}

Old money, while something to envy, is fading and being split by heirs enough to not be all that important anymore.


9/29/2007 09:03:00 AM



(9/29/2007 08:14:00 AM) - Al

I would agree with Robert that Doug will focus on the bullpen this offseason. Thankfully, he does have some bullets in his gun, as he has eight realistic options for his rotation, so I would assume one or two may be dealt, and one or two of them may end up in the bullpen, at least to begin the campaign. If I had to guess right now, I would say the opening day rotation, barring injury of course, would be Sheets, Suppan, Gallardo, Villy, and Capuano. I would say Bush and Parra would start in the bullpen, with Vargas likely to be dealt, as he will be spendy after arby and have standard bottom of the rotation value.

The bullpen will be different, that's for sure. I think it's very possible either Linebrink or Cordero will be back, but both seems unlikely. Shouse seems almost assured of returning. Other than that, your guess is as good as mine. I would say that both McClung and Aquino will be given every chance, as they both throw hard and have plus breaking balls, though control is an issue with both. Stetter opened some eyes with a nice final month, and likely earned a spot on the 40 because of it. Turnbow, to me, does not appear in the '08 'pen, for a couple reasons. One, he was for the most part, either very good or very hittable, and that inconsistency is not a selling point. Two, he still has an outstanding arm, so he will have suitors, as he was mentioned in trade talks several times in '07. Wise is in a similar circumstance, but I would say he will find someone to give him a 1y/$1-2M deal easily, based on his consistent performance the past few years, until late this summer.


9/29/2007 08:14:00 AM



(9/29/2007 01:17:00 AM) - Robert R.

Unfortunately, the season came down to a study in contrasts, the Brewers bullpen vs. the Padres bullpen. There's really no need for significant analysis or finger pointing there, a strength of the Padres proved better than a weakness of the Brewers.

An interesting point is that the Padres didn't have to sacrifice all that much to build up their bullpen. Cla Meredith was acquired by the Padres as part of the deal to return Tim Wakefield's personal catcher Doug Mirabelli to the Red Sox. Not bad when you can exchange a backup catcher for another backup catcher, Josh Bard, and a valuable bullpen member. Heath Bell was acquired from the Mets over the winter for nobody with a particularly high ceiling. Building up the Brewers bullpen is perhaps not such a dire task as may be imagined.


9/29/2007 01:17:00 AM


Friday, September 28, 2007

(9/28/2007 08:08:00 PM) - Al

Capuano reminds me more and more of Ron Darling, who pitched for the Mets for most of his career. Darling always frustrated coaches by being "too fine" and always trying to be perfect. I recall one coach wondering why he did not challenge hitters 0-0 rather than 3-1 or 3-2.


9/28/2007 08:08:00 PM



(9/28/2007 06:55:00 PM) - Al

John Edwards with possibly the most racist statement I've ever heard a human being utter.

I worked with dozens of young African-American men in the Twin Cities at Toys R Us and a party store I managed, and I never knew any that had been in prison, or even in serious trouble. They all were either in high school, college, or wanted as many hours as they could get. That's just an embarrassing, ignorant thing to say.


9/28/2007 06:55:00 PM



(9/28/2007 06:44:00 PM) - Al

I may not be able to convince Robert, but apparently, Seth McClung convinced MLB, and has his suspension take away.


9/28/2007 06:44:00 PM



(9/28/2007 04:39:00 PM) - Robert R.

It's probably justice that the day after a bullpen meltdown puts a game out of reach, the Brewers other major problem this year, the defense, rears its head. Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun, in particular, are going to get a lot of instruction over the next six months in that phase of the game. The errors and plays not made over the year, and the extra runs created directly and indirectly through extra pitches and added stress, have likely had a bigger effect on the Brewers final record than Ned Yost's questionable moves.

Al will never convince me that hitting Pujols on Wednesday wasn't on purpose. That said, all of that is moot if Derrick Turnbow, or someone else, throws strikes to perhaps the worst hitting position player in the major leagues, Kelly Stinnett.

Still, last weekend of the year and the Brewers are still alive. All the games are must win from here and there's next to no margin for error. Whatever happens, it has been an exciting year.


9/28/2007 04:39:00 PM



(9/28/2007 04:24:00 PM) - Al

Tom H mentions if anyone wonders why Braun is replaced for defense late in the game, they have not been paying attention.

I also have to chuckle, because not only have I also received a few e-mails that also ask why, many of the message boards are full of criticism for Yost that it is simply a terrible move. I have always said for the most part, defensive replacements don't make much sense because runs allowed in the 1st inning count the same as those allowed in the 8th or 9th, but let's be honest, why you would leave a known poor fielder in the game late, when a very good one is available, is nonsensical. If Graffy was healthy, he'd be playing 2B late as well, but he isn't.

I've said that the extreme majority of those critical of Yost are either chronic complainers or second guessers, and I have no doubt that's the case, especially after the last few games. There were even some saying that Shouse should not have come in the other night, because...well, he gave up a hit. I mean, I know it's easier after you know the outcome, but these idiots are basically saying you should stay on 13 when the dealer has a 10 showing.

I'm telling you, before these folks all joined the bandwagon, Brewers talk was a lot more high-brow. The things we put up with with a good team.:)


9/28/2007 04:24:00 PM


Thursday, September 27, 2007

(9/27/2007 07:29:00 PM) - Al

The new Pirates' GM sounds like he has a good plan, we'll see if he's given time to make it work. Already saying that they are not in the proper place in the success cycle to spend money on a free agent, so he is not going to make any stopgap moves.

If you're like me and wonder if Damaso Marte would be a nice addition, he may well be on the market this winter.


9/27/2007 07:29:00 PM



(9/27/2007 05:24:00 PM) - Al

Welcome to Cards' fans who were directed here from Viva El Birdos, and we're glad to have you. Best of luck the rest of the way and in 2008.


9/27/2007 05:24:00 PM



(9/27/2007 04:37:00 PM) - Al

I'm sure most everyone knows about the suspensions, but I will link them here if you have not read about it.

My e-mail today is running like this:

You think the pitch was on purpose.

You feel it was not a bad strategical move to pitch around Pujols, considering how he was smacking the ball last night, and that hitting him accomplished the same thing.

That said, many of you acknowledged they had not really considered my point that it was not really a Turnbow situation, being down a run. Also, one person said that if you tell Seth McClung not to groove one and pitch him well inside and well outside, it's as likely to end up where it did as a couple inches off the plate. We're not talking Greg Maddux here.

So, allow me to an another point...I find it odd that so many people seemed so upset that the Brewers only won 2 of 3, which is by far the most mathematically likely result of the 3 game home series. My goodness, if it were easy to win all your games at home just by saying you're going to, everyone would do it. Realistically, the Crew might well win 2 or 3 of the games versus the Padres, and if that happens, either the cubs have to lose them all, or win 1 of 4 to have a playoff...that's why it's not a good situation to be down 2 with 4 left. Geesh, the way the message boards were sounding yesterday, you'd think the Brewers were favored (after being counted out entirely after Sunday, mind you) being 2 out with 5 left, which puzzled me then and still does.

I have been accused of being a bit of a analytical minded person and blogger several times, and I remain that way. I know streaks and such exist, even though they really don't make a whole lot of sense. I recently told my wife I am in a horrible poker streak of late, and she reminded me in the middle of it, I experienced my biggest tournament win by far, in which I had to finish in the top 30 of 250 in one, and then the top 11 of 200 or so in the next. Despite day after day of losses, I am up a huge amount because of that one good day. So, if you step back, even though the cards have gone against me for the most part, that one day would seem to indicate I am playing fine, making good percentage moves, and that sadly, I have been losing despite my by-the-book play.

At the end of the day, most of us will never know what exactly happened. Regardless, the idea that one play here and there rarely makes a difference, at least a sizable one. For whatever reason, be it poor reporting or just exaggeration, many folks seem to be taking a game that lasts 9 innings and involves 54 outs and ignoring 98% of it. I can't see overreacting about that anymore than wondering why Corey Hart didn't go 3-4 and drive in several runs...some nights, you just see good pitches, or you just don't see the ball well.

On a final note, I've just about had it with the "choke" references to various clubs...teams streak and slump all the time. I feel it shows a huge ignorance of the game to think a team full of major league players, the best in the world at what they do, is struggling now due to anything other than bad timing. Obviously, Philly was not trying to get off to a bad start, but they did, so did the Yankees. The Cards stumbled into the playoffs last year and won the title, the Tigers struggled late and won the AL.


9/27/2007 04:37:00 PM



(9/27/2007 08:52:00 AM) - Al

Obviously Robert has the right to his opinion, but I don't think McClung threw at Pujols at all. Often times, things get overlooked, and this seems to be one of them to me. The JS said "Turnbow pitches the 8th", but to be honest, Derrick does not usually pitch the 8th when down by a run. They tried to get through the 8th with Seth, and then if still behind, Derrick would have pitched the 9th.

As for Cordero, I cannot recall when he last pitched when the Crew was behind. I would not doubt that discussion was had when they asked him about going more than one inning. Basically, he said he'd go longer, but he could not just pick up an inning here and there anymore.

I cannot disagree with Robert, however, that using him for 4 outs would have been an option, but there were several others as well. By far the best was to not have that little blooper fall in before Turnbow "lost it".

EDIT: I meant to mention at some point that I would not be surprised if Seth was told to pitch inside, and that was the beginning of it all. Pujols drilled a HR in the 1st on a pitch that looked off the plate, so you gotta work in to him. While others seem certain it was an order, based on Ned's past, I disagree. As for suspensions, I do not consider the risk to be a big deal at all, as they have plenty of relievers.


9/27/2007 08:52:00 AM


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

(9/26/2007 09:58:00 PM) - Robert R.

Two of my biggest pet peeves happened in the 8th inning tonight that let the game get out of hand.

The first was getting caught up in stupid macho gamesmanship and hitting Pujols to put a man on base. It's the last week of the season and a chance to gain ground and the "you hit one of our guys, we'll hit one of yours" mentality apparently takes precedence over winning. I don't agree with it in the first place, but I can understand these things in June. But the last week of the season when you won't see the Cardinals again until next Spring? That's losing sight of your main objective, simply winning the game.

The second one, which is not specific to the Brewers, is not using your best reliever in the most critical situation in the ball game. The game got completely away from the Brewers without Francisco Cordero ever getting into the game. What are you saving him for? Some other team in 2008? I know what "the book" is, but using Cordero to get 4 outs isn't necessarily asking the extraordinary from him. One of the reasons that the Yankees won multiple championships in the late 90s was from Torre's willingness to use Mariano Rivera in the 8th and 9th in the postseason.

One can only hope these lessons sink in for the whole team and management.


9/26/2007 09:58:00 PM



(9/26/2007 06:43:00 PM) - Al

Officials from Major League Baseball have requested the tape of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Tom Haudricourt's interview with umpire Ed Montague on Sunday in Atlanta following the ejection of Yost.

Montague responded to Haudricourt's questions about two calls in the seventh inning of the Brewers' game with the Braves with a profanity-laced outburst.--Wisconsin State Journal


Hmm, this is getting mildly interesting, MLB actually holding umpires accountable for baiting players and acting unprofessional. Winters was supposed to work the Brewers/Padres series this weekend, so we will witness a vacation ump in his place...I have little doubt the replacement will be 100 times less of an idiot, so it's all good.


9/26/2007 06:43:00 PM



(9/26/2007 04:26:00 PM) - Al

Well, to be honest, if I spent my entire day killing and torturing dogs, I'd probably need to wind down by smoking a doobie as well.

You're a bad, bad man Mike Vick. If you and your posse weren't all going to spend the next several years in a federal prison...or knew how to read, I might hesitate to say that.

The idea of an NFL ever signing this buffoon is hilarious...OJ might have a better chance of playing another down.


9/26/2007 04:26:00 PM



(9/26/2007 03:17:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I'm not sure if you ever check the JSOnline message boards, I'm not sure why anybody would judging by the collective intelligence on there, but the reaction by some on there is that they will be canceling their season ticket package next year because the team has decided to bring back Ned Yost. One poster proudly said he would still be going to the games but would only buy his tickets from a scalper. I'm not in tune with the whole scalping business, but I'm sure the Brewers didn't give away their tickets as charity to the scalpers you find outside the park. Those tickets had to come from somewhere. Yet I'm sure this person believes that he is truly making a statement by canceling his season tickets. I'm guessing that he believes the Brewers will see none of his money by buying from scalpers, which shows me how dense some people are.

And to top it off, some are predicting gloom and doom for ticket sales next year because they are canceling their season tickets along with a few of their friends. That doesn't account for the numerous businesses and individuals that buy season tickets no matter what.

I think it is safe to say that bringing back Ned Yost will have no negative impact on season ticket sales. I also think it is highly probable that season ticket sales this offseason will be better than ever due to the improved product on the field and young, exciting nucleus of this team.

Sometimes I wonder if people that congregate on the internet are truly that stupid or society as a whole is truly that stupid. I'm afraid to say that the older I get, I think the answer is closer to the latter.

Jon


Jon, thanks for writing. Almost every day, I pretty much shut off my brain and go visit one of the many message boards (Yahoo, MLB, MJS) that I pretty much know will be filled with 95% idiocy, because sometimes you find links and other newsworthy items in the other 5%. I would agree with your belief that there are many folks on there that would argue long and hard that the Earth simply cannot be round, as we would fall off if it were, and so on.

As to your other thoughts...scalpers (actually, I believe the proper word is reseller, as the Brewers do not allow tickets to be sold on their property for more than face value) get their tickets mostly from season ticket holders who are unable to attend that game. I am far from an expert, but the regulars selling tickets near Halfear Field are selling the leftovers from the major ticket buy/sell agencies, some of which advertise here at Ramblings on the sidebar (thanks guys). As you pointed out, the Crew already has their money from those tickets, so to think of that as a "punishment" is, at best, short-sighted.

Now, as for season ticket sales...I have little doubt they will be much higher next season, offhand, I'd guess they will see a FSE (full season equivalent) increase of about 10-20%, which I think will put them pretty close to what they had for the 2001 Miller Park opening, somewhere around 14K.

Will there be a few fans who drop their packages? Of course, but some folks will move, some will have financial issues, and some will just not feel good about the future. This is true about every team, every year.

Now, will some fans who have had partial packages upgrade to full? Oh yeah. Will some change from 9 to 20 games, or 20 to 40? Without a doubt. Will some who attend many games anyway decide to finally buy a package in order to guarantee themselves playoff tickets? For sure.

So, tell me, which of the above paragraphs is more likely to include more people? If you said the top one, tell me, how do we not fall off the planet? I mean, have you seen the amount of quality players this team has that are 25 or under? Let's be honest, I speak a lot of casual and bandwagon fans...they were not reading Ramblings back in 2002, and they were surely not going to many games either. If ever these fans were going to vote with their wallet, it will be the offseason prior to the 2008 campaign.

One more point...I have not been to a game since early in the season, but a few months ago, Ned Yost got one of the loudest ovations of anyone, I'd say only Prince and Geoff were close. Unless that has changed dramatically in the last few months, which I doubt immensely, needless to say, I don't think attendance will be affected.

It's probably safe to say the person writing those things are fictional season ticket holders only. The idea of a person buying a 9 or 20 seat package or more, and then giving them up after the best season in a decade, on a team that plays hard and is filled with youth, seems extremely unlikely, barring health or financial issues of the season ticket holder.


9/26/2007 03:17:00 PM



(9/26/2007 12:50:00 PM) - Al

La Russa thought the Brewers were throwing at Pujols and started yelling at the Brewers' dugout. Yost and bench coach Dale Sveum yelled obscenities back because Suppan wasn't trying to hit Pujols, and because they didn't say anything when Cards reliever Kelvin Jimenez intentionally drilled Corey Hart the previous evening.

The Cards drilled Hart because they didn't like him taking an extra base on an error in the sixth inning with the Brewers ahead by nine runs.--JS


Tommy Lasorda said it best when he stated players should do whatever they feel is in their best interests and not worry about "unwritten rules". I agree.

It's actually quite a compliment to Hart and the way the Brewers play (and to Yost as well) that no one thought anything of Corey playing at full tilt. If you've ever noticed, Jim Edmonds plays pretty much at half or three-quarters speed almost all the time, and is never questioned or reprimanded. Needless to say, given their World Series title last year, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference in the won/loss column.

Heck, that's one reason Estrada's leg injury was so noticeable, because he stood out like a sore thumb, seemingly not hustling, but really not able to go anywhere near 100%. On many teams the Brewers play, the majority of the players look like they have nagging leg injuries, though I doubt if that's the case.


9/26/2007 12:50:00 PM



(9/26/2007 12:47:00 PM) - Al

Ralph Nader needs a hobby.


9/26/2007 12:47:00 PM



(9/26/2007 12:38:00 PM) - Al

Mike Winters suspended the rest of the season for baiting Milton Bradley.

Hopefully, this clown will decide to "resign" over the offseason. His demeanor is exactly what MLB needs to rid its umpiring staff of.


9/26/2007 12:38:00 PM



(9/26/2007 11:55:00 AM) - Al

Deadspin does not seem to understand that printing tickets and the like takes a lot of time. This also is why I found it so funny many people said the team with the best record should have home field for the World Series...which means no one would know until a couple days before the actual Series who would be hosting what games, not to mention MLB reserves blocks of hotel rooms and the like for their staff.

On the team site Adam discussed how much time and effort the Brewers have already put into it, and much of it is "sunk costs", things that have had to be done just in case. I'm sure they are giddy to have to prep, but it's also a shame it costs money they will most likely never receive (except for the interest they have made holding onto the money for parts of a month).


9/26/2007 11:55:00 AM


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

(9/25/2007 08:22:00 PM) - Al

Lynn Greer asks for his release from the Bucks so he can sign a huge contract in Greece.


9/25/2007 08:22:00 PM



(9/25/2007 07:46:00 PM) - Al

Pizza Hut vs. Dominos...in India.

Did you know that the pizza place Elaine refused to order from because the owner donated money to "radical pro-life groups" was based on the Dominos' founder? Yep.


9/25/2007 07:46:00 PM



(9/25/2007 07:05:00 PM) - Al

Mark A with a "vote of confidence" for Ned, which given his straight shooting style is actually good news for Yost.

The reports of unhappiness seem to be from this article from Jerry Crasnik, which was just e-mailed to me by frequent contributor Mike. The subject line was "much ado about nothing", which seemed pretty fitting, as I tend to ignore anonymous quotes, because they always sound like either lazy reporting and/or made up stuff.

From everything I've seen and heard, the reports of Doug and Ned receiving extensions make a lot of sense to me.


9/25/2007 07:05:00 PM



(9/25/2007 04:17:00 PM) - Al

Aaron Gleeman compares Joe Mauer, possibly the best all-around player in baseball, who gets a ton of criticism for not being Superman, I guess, to the most overrated player of our time.

This is why Gleeman's factual based columns make almost all columnists look so painfully badly researched...the JS guys will talk about "momentum" and "playing as a team", and you don't really consider what a load of crap that is until you see Gleeman's work.


9/25/2007 04:17:00 PM



(9/25/2007 04:01:00 PM) - Al

According to a front office source, the Brewers will host the Blue Jays and Orioles in Interleague Play next season, in addition to their usual weekend series against the Twins. The schedule typically is released before the end of the regular season, but that may not be the case this year because of a series of adjustments. That means fans attending Sunday's season finale will not get schedule magnets, as they have in the past.--Adam M, team site

No help for the Brewers with those two visitors, that's for sure. Of course, a couple years ago, they got both the Yankees and Red Sox, so I suppose they were due, and it could have been worse...the Rays' fans that follow their team has to be a mighty small contingent.


9/25/2007 04:01:00 PM


Monday, September 24, 2007

(9/24/2007 09:40:00 PM) - Al

Another blown call, another umpire out of position, and another ejection.

Wow. The past couple days, we have truly seen absolutely no effort whatsoever on the part of the men in blue. None. Not bothering to take a step or two to get in proper position, ejecting on a whim, and so on. It is truly an embarrassment to the sport.


9/24/2007 09:40:00 PM



(9/24/2007 09:33:00 PM) - Al

I have often said you can get a pretty good idea who a good umpire is and who isn't solely on their ejection statistics...good umps rarely throw anyone out.

As if to prove my point, the home plate arbiter throws Damian Miller and Jim Skaalen out after calling a third strike on a pitch about 6 inches off the corner. Without a doubt, the umpiring has suffered a large dropoff in the past few weeks. Really too bad, as giving a good effort 3 hours a day isn't really much to ask.


9/24/2007 09:33:00 PM



(9/24/2007 08:45:00 PM) - Al

On some message boards this past week, some have argued that they wish Tony LaRussa would come over to the Brewers.

After watching him once again make himself the center of attention as he loaded the bases by continually pitching out versus Jenkins, I would have to say any pluses Tony might bring to the table are lost due to his massive ego. I'm not sure why you'd ever allow the focus of the pitcher to be the baserunners rather than the batter.

I've seen Tony run out of relievers in the 10th or 11th inning far too many times (gee, who woulda guessed a 4-3 game would end up TIED after 9?) for me to ever think he has a secret way of thinking. Add that to his DWI arrest and all around inability to get along with many players over the years, I can think of many preferred options.


9/24/2007 08:45:00 PM



(9/24/2007 07:32:00 PM) - Al

Estrada sounds like he's out for the year with a knee problem. That'll be a crushing blow if the team makes the playoffs, but otherwise, he gets an early, well deserved rest.


9/24/2007 07:32:00 PM



(9/24/2007 04:04:00 PM) - Al

Once again, proof the game has suffered from Bud Selig's inept leadership...not.

Hat tip to Dave Pinto, who points out if the Florida franchises weren't bringing down the average so, it'd be much, much higher. Actually though, it is simply astounding that this record was broken with an entire week to play...that's almost 100 games left to play.

As soon as the Marlins get their stadium situation straightened out, expansion will once again be a viable, much discussed option. I'd say we'll have 32 teams before 2015.


9/24/2007 04:04:00 PM



(9/24/2007 01:11:00 PM) - Al

One guy who might fit the bill is Geoff Jenkins of Milwaukee. He has a $9 million option for 2008 that the Brewers are not about to pick up, which will make him a free agent at the end of this season.

Jenkins is 33 and has hit 21 home runs in 125 games this season. He can play first base or outfield. He would be the short-term guy with pop in his bat and the versatility Detroit is seeking.

If you're looking for a leader in the clubhouse among players most likely to be approached by Detroit this off-season, Jenkins isn't a bad bet to be pursued.--Lynn Henning, Detroit News


Any wonder why the mainstream press loses readers every day? Geoff has never played 1B in his career, so Henning is grasping at straws there. The rest of it makes some sense, but it's hard to overlook the simple fact no one has any idea if Geoff can play 1B at a passable level.

I was a bit surprised to see Geoff has never played an inning in CF either. That seems strange just due to the length of his career.


9/24/2007 01:11:00 PM



(9/24/2007 01:04:00 PM) - Al

The Columbia president just spent the entire intro absolutely tearing his guest apart.

Rude, but fitting.


9/24/2007 01:04:00 PM



(9/24/2007 12:38:00 PM) - Al

Looks like the umpire talking to Bradley indirectly has cost Milton a very serious injury. That's a shame, in many ways. Hopefully, this will change the way MLB makes its representatives, the umps, behave during a game.


9/24/2007 12:38:00 PM



(9/24/2007 12:32:00 PM) - Al

Just took a look at tickets for this next weekend, and both Saturday and Sunday's games are standing room only at this stage, which surprised me a bit, as just a while back they said they expected about 35K for each game on the homestand except a pair of weekday games, the dates of which I forget.

Looks like they'll be finishing up with big crowds this week as well...a good way to start the 3M push for '08.


9/24/2007 12:32:00 PM



(9/24/2007 12:16:00 PM) - Al

Reports on Milwaukee radio have Doug and Ned both signing extensions either this week, before the season ends, or just after the season ends, next week. Supposedly, Mark A wants to hammer out agreements before the team starts focusing on their offseason player planning.

This would seem to agree with what I felt, as I mentioned last night in chat.


9/24/2007 12:16:00 PM



(9/24/2007 12:03:00 PM) - Al

Apparently, many MLB umpires are ready for the season to end. This incident in the Padres/Rockies game, despite the fact it involved Milton Bradley, looks to be 99% caused by an umpire who simply does not keep his mouth shut, and appears determined to make himself the center of attention.

Bradley ends up getting injured, as his manager is unable to pull him away.

I'm sorry, but when the runner is taking a lead off 1B and the umpire is swearing at him and the like (as per Bobby Meachem, the 1B coach), the problem is the umpire, not anything else. That's simply unacceptable behavior.


9/24/2007 12:03:00 PM


Sunday, September 23, 2007

(9/23/2007 04:55:00 PM) - Al

SUNDAY EVENING RAMBLINGS CHAT

Note: If you are online Sunday night, keep refreshing.

Al, just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed both your Webster reference today and the tale of you and your son golfing and eating. Doesn't look good at the moment, but I also believe the future looks bright. Keep up the good work. Tom.

Tom kicks off the chat with a note he sent in soon after the game. Thanks Tom, and I'm glad you enjoy laughing at my life.

The bad calls in this game (actually, all series) are as unfortunate as they were bad.

However, the Brewers should have never been in this spot. 16 times they blew 3+ run leads. And worse than the fact that they blew the leads is the WAY they lost them. Sure, the season is a marathon, not a sprint. But falling down as many times as they did put them in the situation where some poor umpiring may have put the final nails in this season's coffin. Michael


My view on this is quite well known, you can't stall in baseball, so I fail to see the importance of giving up runs early, late, or whenever; as the whole point is to allow fewer. You'll have to update me on what you mean by "how they lost them", as for the most part, their late innings relief corps has been solid. Often times, the leads have been given up partially by the SP, and then a run or two by the bullpen. I'd say it's probably more of an attribute of the powerful offense than anything else.

*After one hour, still alive. Been card dead, having only seen the flop 8 of 77 hands. 2500 chips, started with 3000. 3800 began, 2800 remain.

I came across this in the JS. I have said to myself many times in the last 2-3 weeks I felt the umpires were ready for the season to be over, as I have noticed a lot less hustle into the OF on pop-ups and such, and several very questionable calls on check swings, as if the call is an afterthought, not what they saw. Now, of course, not every call has gone against the Crew by any means, but the other night, Hirshbeck throwing Jenkins out of the game was one of the worst ejections I've ever seen.

I do not know the name of the fella at 2B, but unprofessional is a term I would use as well. As an umpire, you have no reason to get in the face of anyone, you should listen, talk, and then walk away. I have found that almost without fail, umpires are much more combative and such when they think they made a mistake. On the play at 2B, the runner was clearly several feet off the bag when the ball was caught by Weeks. Now, he might have snuck his hand in, but no one ever looks at that, on stolen bases, plays at the plate, whatever...if the ball beats you, you're out, unless the ball is dropped or something. You can argue that is not right, but that's the way it is.

*End of hour 2, I'm at 4100 chips, lost with KK to A7 once to a player who went all-in with less than myself, and then my KK held up versus QQ when I was all-in to keep myself alive. Other than that I've just been trying to steal the blinds when I have had position, and it's usually been successful. The average stack has 6500, and the big blind is 200, so I still have 20+, so I can still play normally. I've only seen 17 flops in 166 hands, but I have won 16 pre-flop. There is a raise nearly every hand before the flop, so it's been aggressively played.

If the Brewers are eliminated before Yo's next start, will he still pitch? Darrell

I doubt it. If he does, he might well be 5 and out, but with Vargas available, it seems unlikely.

*Knocked out in 1436th place. My KQs lost to A7 which cost me half my chips, and I finally pushed with T6s, losing to AQ. And my second tourney started about two minutes later.:)

Al, don't you think Yo might pitch because they will be playing San Diego, and because a .500 finish might be at stake? Peter

Maybe, and no. A .500 finish is meaningless, so that won't make a difference. I believe he is scheduled to pitch Thursday, so I hope they are still alive, but if they are not, it's tough to justify those extra pitches on a 21 year-old's arm.

I know you've said a number of times you won't really think about the 2008 roster until after the season but I was curious, with Kevin Mench still arbitration-eligible (he'll be just under 6 years of service time), what you think are the chances of a Gross/Mench platoon or even Gwynn/Mench platoon in left field next season rather than a free agent signing? Theron

I feel Mench will be offered arby and then dealt. I don't see Gwynn starting. I've been of the opinion the team would sign a veteran LF to a 1-2 year deal, but with the late season play of Gross and Dillon, they might be in the picture, and it would free up more cash to fortify the bullpen and overall depth. Gwynn's name was mentioned twice in trade talk, once for Eric Gagne and once for Otsuka, so I would say he is likely to either be a reserve or be dealt, as I think he has more value to another team, not to mention the Brewers have about a dozen legitimate OF prospects in the minors.

Al, do you think Ned will be back, and if he is, what about his coaches? Nick

Yes, and very likely signed to an extension. Really have no idea about the coaches, how long does Nick Leyva really want to travel much longer? I still wonder why they have not created a spot for Frank Kremblas, if they think much of him.

*My JJ ran into KK, so tourney 2 is complete as well. Thanks to those who wrote in on short notice, and we'll see you tomorrow night.


9/23/2007 04:55:00 PM



(9/23/2007 04:45:00 PM) - Al

For the second Sunday in a row, I qualified for a high entry fee tournament, but sadly, I cannot sell that ticket at the site I'm at this week, so I guess I'll be playing this evening. To commemorate the occasion of me sitting here playing by the book and hoping for the best, I think we'll have an ongoing "chat" type post, so if you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me.

Hopefully, we'll get enough to make a nice read for the folks who skip us all weekend and tune in Monday morning.

Or, if you feel like "railbirding", you can search for me at the site that rhymes with Tull Filt. I will for sure be at the one big tourney that starts at 5 Central and a satellite that begins at 7:30.


9/23/2007 04:45:00 PM



(9/23/2007 02:54:00 PM) - Al

The Braves sticking with the "don't hit it hard, hit it where they ain't" mindset. I'm not sure if a ball has been hit well all inning...ground ball, ground ball, bloop, bloop.

As for the call at 2B, the ball beat the runner by several feet. Why he picked today to start being concerned about a tag is anyone's guess, as no one pays a bit more attention to that than they do if the 2B/SS is on the base while turning a double play.

And, what a deplorable strike zone today. It's as narrow as I've ever seen.


9/23/2007 02:54:00 PM



(9/23/2007 02:46:00 PM) - Al

I have to wonder why Rivera has been being used rather than Miller after Estrada has left for a PR or in today's case, after an injury. Miller has been coming in later, so he can play, but you'd think Damian would be used first. Before today, I figured it was because they figured Rivera would only catch a couple frames and then be PH for, but that was not the case today.

I'm sure there's a reason, I just don't know what it is.


9/23/2007 02:46:00 PM



(9/23/2007 02:15:00 PM) - Al

Anyone still wondering if Capuano has value, you need look only to today's game. He would be one of the most sought after SP's on the market this offseason if the Brewers were to non-tender the arby eligible lefty. That isn't because he's "that" good, but because many teams bargain hunt and would be all over him.

I think he'll be back in the Crew's rotation myself, but we'll go into that more when the offseason arrives.


9/23/2007 02:15:00 PM



(9/23/2007 01:31:00 PM) - Al

Capuano with good results thus far, even though he had to get 5 or 6 outs in the 2nd inning.

Once again, just when you think Braun needs a day off, he drives one 400+ feet.


9/23/2007 01:31:00 PM



(9/23/2007 12:03:00 PM) - Al

Al,

The one to remind people of. And no he wasn't a 3B but Robin Yount had 44
errors is 2nd season. And 31 his 3rd. And yet now he's considered one of the best defensive SS and CF of his era. So. Braun could become just adequate but you never know. But we do have guys like Sheffield who never did learn the IF.

Mike


C'mon Mike, you don't think you would have seen any of these amateur scout know-it-alls say Yount would never develop into anything but a horrific SS, do you?

Heh, me too.

As you say, some fellas never get that much better, but many do as well. Making rash judgements after only 100 games or so is pretty much the epitome of short-sighted, but you still see folks making these suggestions, despite the many examples of young players who are still playing those positions deemed too difficult for them ages ago.


9/23/2007 12:03:00 PM



(9/23/2007 09:53:00 AM) - Al

Hey Al,

Can we get Joe Girardi to replace Schroeder? :) Man he's impressive as
an analyst. Very very knowledgeable. Much more competent than the ESPN
guys last night.

Mike


I also enjoyed Girardi, though I found Rick Sutcliffe's comparison of Braun to Brett and Boggs, two great offensive 3B who struggled early with defense, to be thought provoking.

There are really only two schools of thought on Braun, one is the view many had with Prince, Rickie, Corey, and even Bill, as both a CF a few months ago and as a SS years ago...they will never be able to play the position decently, and they will have to be moved. For the most part, the naysayers have been proven incorrect, though neither Prince nor Rickie could be labeled as even "average" quality defenders, they have improved to the point where they are certainly passable. I feel both Hall and Hart have turned themselves into very nice OF's, which I think they will prove in the future. I think this says a lot about how relatively easy it is to become a good OF if you have athletic ability and work ethic.

The other, more conservative viewpoint is that Braun will be adequate at 3B with continued reps and tutoring. Ryan has great arm strength, and is a fine athlete, so he certainly has the skills to be an outstanding 3B. It would seem clear that 3B that can hit like Braun is more valuable than an OF, so why some wish to make this switch with a 23 year-old seems very short-sighted. What's ironic to me is, not only do you hear Boggs and Brett had issues, other names pop up as well...David Wright was fictionally moved to 1B or the OF many times that I can recall...his name popped up on message boards as possibly being available (yeah, I wish) because of his lackluster defense.

Doug and the braintrust tend to take a long-term approach, and have been especially patient with the phenoms, so I feel it is quite likely Ryan will get every chance to succeed at the hot corner before moving to the right on the defensive spectrum.


9/23/2007 09:53:00 AM



(9/23/2007 09:21:00 AM) - Al

The Times charged less than 50% of the proper rate so MoveOn.org could mock a respected military man (and from my vantage point, all members of the miltary past and present), and managed to overlook the fact that the ad seems to violate their own advertising standards.

I'm pretty sure that's a trifecta of previously unmatched proportions.

To be honest, to me the most surprising thing is that the New York Times can still use the word "standards" without a stern reprimand from Webster.

EDIT: Everyone's favorite "fetching" Madison/Brooklyn law prof has more on the topic.

Hat tip to Glenn for the original post.


9/23/2007 09:21:00 AM



(9/23/2007 09:08:00 AM) - Al

I have said for a long time that Jim Caple is one a perfect example of someone who thinks he is funny and is not, but Jim Stingl is, perhaps, the #1 contender.

I was unimpressed with Stingl back here as well. You think I'd learn to stop clicking on his links.


9/23/2007 09:08:00 AM


Saturday, September 22, 2007

(9/22/2007 06:42:00 PM) - Al

While many will remember only Rickie's error (it did look like he may have tried to hurry a bit, as Harris can fly), obviously the play that decided the game was the HR Frankie allowed. No closer will be perfect, and Cordero has been close for much of '07, so it's really tough to be too heartbroken about it, he's going to give up a run once in a while...too bad it could not have been with a 2 run lead.

Games like that often come down to a break here and there, and a misplay is often all it takes. Too bad the HR allowed it to happen. Give Thorman credit, he drilled a high 95 mph fastball a country mile.

By the way, I wonder if many will wonder why Frankie was in the game rather than say, Matt Wise.:)


9/22/2007 06:42:00 PM



(9/22/2007 02:00:00 PM) - Al

My wife left me alone with my 5 year-old this morning (with any luck, not for good), so Andrew and I decided to go mini-golfing and then have lunch at Culver's.

A new mini-golf course opened just a couple miles from our home, so we tried it out today. Our first effort to pay was met with a "Oh, we don't take credit cards", which led me to believe this business is not destined for great success, as I really have not really carried cash since 1997, which coincidentally, is also the last year I was single, but hence, I digress.

The new course is full of bells and whistles, water flows throughout, and is also pumped up to a fountain which is right next to a couple holes. I was amazed how many "old" couples we saw (and by old, I mean older than me), which seemed strange, as I never hear anyone over the age of 23 say they went mini-golfing without a child in tow. Andrew just kept saying how much he liked the course, and was so excited, he ran the entire course, usually playing one shot before the previous one had stopped rolling. Years ago, I recall reading about a fad in which distance runners were playing "speed golf", in which the "winner" was determined by a combo of how long and how many shots. If this craze ever hits the mini-golf links, my son has found a profession.

Despite the stairs, many holes on the course are also handicapped accessible, which is nice for many as well. It obviously cost some to put up a few bridges to accommodate wheelchairs, so that deserves mention.

So, onto Culver's. It was busy as usual, but the wait was minimal. I decided to "splurge" and have a soft drink with calories, as the root beer there is quite yummy. Andrew picked out a table, while I waited behind a couple of people who, apparently, suffer from some sort of rare ailment in that a self-serve beverage machine is their kryptonite. One older lady tried unsuccessfully to put a lid on her cup for a length of time I can only describe as "forever", but in reality was likely about 30 seconds. After blocking the machine from the masses, she then proceeded to walk to her table...which turned out to be about 3 steps from the beverage dispenser. She muttered something to the effect of "I couldn't get the lid on", a child of about 6 seated at the table reached over and proceeded to snap the previously impossible to navigate top onto the container. As if to prove the superiority of his generation, the child then slammed the straw onto the table, and then blew the wrapper about 10 feet in the air. Sadly, I feel this was another task his grandma would have found too Herculian to accomplish herself, but hence, once again, I digress.

I filled my root beer with no incident, though I noticed it did not really look normal in appearance. Rather than being brown, it looked kind of clear-yellowish, a very faded brown. This did not really bother me, as I figured maybe the company decided to cut back on artificial coloring to deliver a more profitable result for their stockholders, an option I find wise. So, I sat at Andrew's table o' choice, and took a sip of my oddly colored liquid...I've never actually tasted carbonated bile, but it could not possibly taste much worse. I've never been known to those who know me as a picky eater, but it was indeed beyond terrible.

I wandered back up to the pop machine, watched a couple people in front of me pour out what they had and refill it. I did the same and chose fruit punch, despite the fact I am sure I increased the average age of those who go with fruit punch by several years. I thought of informing the staff of the problem, and glanced at the front counter, which now resembled the pearly gates after a bus versus bus traffic accident involving folks who had spent the day at the Presbyterian Ladies Knitting Convention. I passed on the opportunity to save others from the icky flavor.

Andrew asked why he did not have anything to drink, and I informed him they would bring his chocolate milk with his meal. I asked if he wanted to have some of mine, and this conversation ensued:

Andrew: What is that?

Al: Fruit punch.

Andrew: Fruit punch?

Al: Yep. Want some?

Andrew: Well, OK.

(takes a small sip, pushes it back)

Al: What do you think?

Andrew: Eh...too fruity.

My life has become a Seinfeld episode.

So, our food arrives, and I realize I have forgotten ketchup for my son's fries. I go to get some, and return to find him happily eating his grilled cheese sandwich. I open my bun to put a tad of his ketchup on my mushroom and swiss...and I discover my burger has only two mushrooms on it, both about the size of your pinkie nail, both on the same side of the bun. I chuckle and tell Andrew that my burger is really just a "swiss burger", as it barely has any 'shrooms, and he takes a look, and exclaims, "It doesn't look anything like the picture". Sure enough, the double burger pictured on the table flipchart barely resembles mine, and my son thus, maybe for the first time, learns the deception that is the evil world of marketing.


9/22/2007 02:00:00 PM



(9/22/2007 01:33:00 PM) - Al

Tom H posts a rebuttal to the comments on the JS blog...if you've ever wondered why there are no comments here, the idiots that comment there are the reason. Life's simply too short.


9/22/2007 01:33:00 PM



(9/22/2007 07:03:00 AM) - Al

Tom H is his usual grumpy self in this blog post, but he's right on the money. Overanalyzing every minor move, and as Tom points out, only when the team loses, is just keeping people from enjoying the season.


9/22/2007 07:03:00 AM


Friday, September 21, 2007

(9/21/2007 08:13:00 PM) - Al

Two balls absolutely crushed here in the 8th inning, and two outs. Astounding.


9/21/2007 08:13:00 PM



(9/21/2007 08:08:00 PM) - Al

Rick Braun with possibly the best JS chat in history. If you'll note, many of the people who question "strategery" decisions cannot even figure out what makes a bad decision.


9/21/2007 08:08:00 PM



(9/21/2007 04:40:00 PM) - Al

Al:

I have had a real hard time turning on the radio or catching up on Brewerfan.net the past few days out of fear that I’ll have to hear yet another Ned-bashing. Your post from yesterday analyzing Ned’s pitching moves in the last game of the Astros series reflects what I’ve been trying to say to people for two days, but, of course, no one’s listening. Since you put it so much more eloquent than I can, I am going to direct my local Ned-bashers to your analysis.

It has gotten to the point where Ned = George W. Bush in that people are automatically criticizing Ned’s actions because of who he is rather than what he does.

Matthew


Thanks for the kind words Matthew, and I'll agree that Ned has gotten a lot of negative comments just because no manager's moves always work out. But, over the past few days; Willie Randolph, Charlie Manuel, and Terry Francona have all been criticized as well, and as funny as it seems, Randolph mostly for not pitching Billy Wagner in a save situation even though he was injured. Talk about stupid.

Many fans have a "today only" attitude because they do not have to answer to anyone ever. The same ignorant idea they have today (Let's start Cordero and then have anyone pitch the last few innings!) is just as stupid tomorrow, but if the team lost last night, it could not have been any worse. I find this most common with the "Cordero should pitch in the 6th or 7th inning if that's the toughest spot" crowd. As I have shown often, if Frankie used to get the 3-4-5 hitters in the 6th, those same guys are going to come up again in the 8th or 9th, and then what do you do? There is always an assumption that the Brewers will score more runs, and that Cordero is perfection personified, you can bring him into a bases loaded jam and he'll get out of it with the lead, when common sense tells you that's not the case.

This is a fine team Doug has put together, and it would seem to have its better years ahead of it. I love being in the thick of things, and as I often say about many fans, they simply are failing to enjoy this season for what it is, which is really too bad.


9/21/2007 04:40:00 PM


Thursday, September 20, 2007

(9/20/2007 06:54:00 PM) - Al

So, once again I am watching Andruw Jones being called a fine defensive CF, and once again, I shake my head in amazement at just how bad Jones is, but like Derek Jeter, despite horrendous defensive numbers, no one lets the facts get in the way.

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

How many years in a row does the guy have to be among the worst CF's in the NL before people stop calling him the best? Oh, that's right...that doesn't matter, because folks can tell just by watching him.

Um, yeah.

The funny thing about this is, people will now want to argue that zone rating is not a worthwhile statistic, despite the fact it pretty much tells us exactly what we know...Weeks and Braun are not good at all defensively at this stage of their careers, Fielder is not all that good, Hardy is mediocre, Hall struggled so much early his numbers will be bad for the year, while Jenkins is solid and Hart is very good...yet somehow, with Andruw, ZR is off...year after year after year...


9/20/2007 06:54:00 PM



(9/20/2007 06:46:00 PM) - Al

For those of you who had never heard of "the Jena 6" until today, here's a down and dirty recap, courtesy of Glenn.


9/20/2007 06:46:00 PM



(9/20/2007 06:25:00 PM) - Al

Goldman Sachs said it earned $2.85 billion, or $6.13 a share, in the three months ended Aug. 31, compared to $1.59 billion, or $3.26 a share, in the third quarter a year ago.

Heh. GS is the closest you can come to owning your own ATM, and it sells at less than 10 times earnings...because I've been hearing for the past three years that there is no way they can possibly keep those numbers up.

To quote Jim Cramer, buy buy buy.


9/20/2007 06:25:00 PM



(9/20/2007 04:08:00 PM) - Al

The Bucks match Charlie Bell's offer sheet, though I would not be shocked if they still traded him, as it lacks the nearly prerequisite statement from the team saying how happy they are to have him back.

I thought it was a no-brainer myself, as it was for "only" $3.6M a year on average, which sadly is the level anyone who can dribble a ball and walk at the same time makes in the NBA. As proof, the "midlevel exception" designed specifically for vets looking to be role players, is now $5M or more.

UPDATE: The Bucks have not put this on their website yet, so either they are inept or the trade scenario I put forth above is possibly close to the truth.

UPDATE: The Bucks now have it on the team site, with gushing quotes about Charlie from both coach and GM, so it appears he is there to stay. As a casual fan, Bell is a solid #3 guard, though I am not sure why they signed the fella from the Hawks a couple days ago, as he seems much like Lynn Greer and their 2nd round pick from this year, Ramon Sessions.


9/20/2007 04:08:00 PM



(9/20/2007 03:18:00 PM) - Al

Maybe I'm a bit reactionary to pop culture and minor, waste of time to even mention such silly stuff happenings, but since I throw in many personal thoughts, I will do so here as well.

I am just flabbergasted that I read more about "Talk Like A Pirate Day" yesterday than I ever have for Veteran's Day or Memorial Day. Now, I can enjoy silly, funny items as much as the next guy, I have many sites bookmarked that I check on a daily basis, which focus on quasi-celebs, poker, sports, and the like. Heck, I celebrate Festivus as much as I do many minor holidays, and a less important day you will not find.

I just have to wonder how anyone could seriously take the time to actually promote Pirate day, while not making a single, even casual mention of a day designed to honor those who fought for and/or made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom and the country.

I guess ultimately, I'm just a bit off the beaten path with much of society.


9/20/2007 03:18:00 PM



(9/20/2007 03:11:00 PM) - Al

A year ago, the Detroit Tigers took the lead in their division May 21, led by as many as 10 games Aug. 7, then blew it. They lost their last five games of the season, all at home - the last three to the Royals, 100-game losers - and had to settle for the wild card. They were lousy the last month of the season, going 12-16.

Then they shocked the Yankees in the first round of the postseason, rolled over the Oakland Athletics in the American League Championship Series, and played in the World Series. No one even notices there isn't a divisional flag flying in Comerica Park.

Then there were the Cardinals, who had a seven-game lead in the National League Central a year ago today, then lost seven in a row and eight of nine, their lead shrinking to a half-game, before they righted themselves. The Cardinals won the World Series.

So, would anyone in New England like to take a deep breath, especially with the Sox' magic number to qualify for the playoffs just three after the Tigers were swept by Cleveland?--Gordon Edes


Hat tip to Dave Pinto.

As I have been saying, the Red Sox fans just need to relax. They are so caught up in the fact they are not dominating they are missing out on a wonderful, enjoyable season.


9/20/2007 03:11:00 PM



(9/20/2007 12:08:00 PM) - Al

I have been inundated with e-mails this morning from upset fans who want to know why Ned Yost didn't use another reliever instead of Matt Wise, who lost the game in the 10th inning Wednesday night to the Astros.

In particular, many have asked why Yost didn't bring in closer Francisco Cordero.--Tom H's blog


You can read the entire post here, as he goes over why King or Capuano were not used.

That said, while I am not defending Yost's moves (I don't feel I have any need to do so), how obvious is it that the second guessers are pointing to the 10th inning as the "mistake". If Cordero was going to be used (and to be clear, I doubt if I would have utilized him either), the clear time to do so would have been the bottom of the 9th, especially with Prince/Corey/Gabe coming to bat in the 10th. Best case scenario, Frankie would have had a pair of quick 1-2-3 frames, throwing only about 18-20 pitches, a run would have scored in the top of the 10th, and Cordero would have still been able to go tonight if needed, and world peace would have been gained because we were holding hands and singing folk songs.

Right.

If I were to find fault with Ned's changes (which I will not do), I would instead point to using your 3 best relievers other than Cordero to get 6 outs in the 7th and 8th. Still, all 3 pitched fine, but were undone by the fact the field has plenty of green showing. Linebrink would have been out of the 7th, had the ground ball to Counsell been a foot toward the field of play. What turned out to be the vital 4th run scored because Turnbow failed to glance at the runner on 2B, after he induced a ground ball which easily could have been a DP...but instead split JJ and Craig perfectly, and bounced into LF for a single. Shouse pitched Loretta well, but gave up a blooper that fell in. We're not talking about line drives to the gap and balls ricocheting off the wall here, it's just baseball.

The difference between a game ending 6-4-3 double play and a game-winning single through the hole is a matter of feet, or even a few inches at times.

The transparent quality of the complaints about the 10th is foolish, as Spurling and Stetter are certainly no better than Wise, at best, they are guys who can round out a bullpen, 9th, 10th men. Matt has been going through a rough stretch, but did not look bad last night...giving up a single run does not take much, and we all know it.

Besides, one has to question what the proper amount of time is to let Cordero go...do you send back out for the 10th after the Brewers failed to score? If you do, and the Crew scores in the 11th, do you send him back out for the 11th, and make him get 9 outs? On average, that would be about a 45 pitch performance, which would certainly leave him unavailable for tonight, and maybe tomorrow evening as well...and again, we're talking best case scenario here. If the above scenario occurs and Frankie gives up two in the bottom of the 11th, all you'd hear is "Why did Frankie pitch so long"? That said, your alternatives would have been Spurling, Wise, Stetter, and King to somehow mix and match 3 outs...and it'd be tough to pretend to have a lot of confidence in any or all of them, no offense, as they are all certainly capable big leaguers.


9/20/2007 12:08:00 PM



(9/20/2007 11:59:00 AM) - Al

I think it's because Tom is just a moron. Is that a choice?:) Seriously, I think he's a football fan covering baseball. Football has a very short season and every game is considered life or death. That's how Tom acts. He's the one who called a loss in July "devastating".

Apparently Tom didn't notice that the Yankees have picked up 4 1/2 games on the Red Sox in the last 6 days. The thing is. It's not likely, but the Brewers could be 3 up or 5 back next Thursday. It just doesn't take much to pick up 1 or 2 games in 11 days. Look at the Brewers, who just over a week ago, were 1 1/2 games up. Now would they rather win 3 of 4 against the Braves? Sure. But if they don't, it's not over, even if the Cubs sweep their opponent.

Mike


Mike being a bit more blunt than myself. Ask the Cardinals how fast you can go from "in it" to "out of it", but calling game #152 "must win" is a stretch at the very least, or vast foolishness at worst.

Mike also pointed out that former Brewers' reliever Jeff Bennett is starting tonight for the Braves, and that he apparently had Tommy John surgery a year or two ago. I heard this on the telecast last night as well. His numbers are here...he was only used as a starter late, and while his ERA was decent, his secondary numbers look pedestrian as you can get...a 1.3-1 K/BB ratio and 6 K/9 in AAA do not scream prospect by any means...I would not expect much velocity from him or a plus breaking ball. Stats like that usually indicate a lack of an out pitch, so he is dependent on his grounders and line drives being at fielders.


9/20/2007 11:59:00 AM



(9/20/2007 09:52:00 AM) - Al

I'm on my way out the door, but Tom H calling tonight an "almost must win" has to be one of the silliest things I have ever read in my life. After tonight, the Crew will either be a half-game back or one and a half back...neither exactly perfect or a calamity with 10 to play.

I'm not sure if Tom is just that overreactionary, or if he's trying to install some kind of false doom. Regardless, it's pathetic.


9/20/2007 09:52:00 AM


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

(9/19/2007 08:24:00 PM) - Al

As I keep hearing, many cities, including Ramadi, which is profiled here, are not disasters.

Hopefully, frequent e-mailer Joe will send along his take. I have no idea, but it sure is good to see Iraqi kids able to live some semblance of a normal life.

FYI, the link above is extremely long, never mind it is part 2 of 2 (part 1 is at the top of the story). It might be good lunch hour or weekend reading.


9/19/2007 08:24:00 PM



(9/19/2007 07:54:00 PM) - Al

Pitching duel tonight, 0-0...here's something to ponder as we hope the Brewers score first:

Has anyone else noticed that when Ned was given a plethora of healthy pitchers, like a 15 man staff, both the second guessing came to an end AND the Crew started pitching better and winning more consistently?

It almost seems as if Yost's problem was a shortage of pitchers, due to his starters not going long enough and his relievers being forced to either get guys out or give up several runs. Now, with plenty of rested arms, Ben goes one frame, no problem, bring in one of 2-3 long men. Need 3 arms to get you through the 7th or 8th...ok. Even the most publicized change, bringing in Cordero for more than one inning, is much easier to do, as if Frankie goes 35 pitches and needs a game off, you still have nearly a dozen choices to try and get through the final 9-12 outs, making it much easier to use match-ups and the like...while if you do that in June, you just go short a guy, and you are forced to do things like use a loogy for a full inning, or use a middle-long man in the 7th.


9/19/2007 07:54:00 PM



(9/19/2007 04:53:00 PM) - Al

I've never heard of Mr. Danziger before, but he wrote a nice piece about his son joining the Army here.

May I be among the first to thank him for his service.


9/19/2007 04:53:00 PM



(9/19/2007 04:35:00 PM) - Al

Heya Al...

I respect Cecil Cooper. But. Why in God's name would anyone keep a
lefty specialist in with Braun coming up? You do wonder sometimes if
managers look at the splits. Ryan is hitting over .400 with an OPS of
1.4 against lefties. Baffling.

Mike


Mike, I can only assume you are referring to last night, so in Cecil's defense, you can't change relievers every time Ryan comes up to the plate. That said, even if he's hitting .400, he still gets out 60% of the time. I'd hope he chased a breaking ball in the dirt or a high fastball, but let's not forget, no one really wants to walk him with Prince up next.

By the way, your note reminded me of Matt Albers choosing to hit Ryan in the 1st inning the other night, after which he scored soon thereafter, once again proving the law of more baserunners equals more runs. Albers better have one heckuva arm, because when you're that unintelligent, success is not likely to follow.


9/19/2007 04:35:00 PM



(9/19/2007 12:23:00 PM) - Al

I'd like to thank you and the Brewfan crew for "re-educating" me on baseball. I use to post quite regularly at the MLB site but I'm an idiot for defending Ned Yost and since I try arguing with statistical evidence and common sense, I'm a pariah. I don't care enough to delve too far into the analysis of the game as others, but I feel that I understand the game better after reading your blogs and skimming brewerfan. You're right on the button when it comes to your observations about baseball and the Crew.

And yes, it's very painful to partake in a game thread that gets mad at Ned Yost when Joe Dillon doesn't hit a grand slam with no one on base in the 1st inning.

Eric


Thanks for the kind words, Eric.

I watched Baseball Tonight at 11 last evening, and the constant second guessing and pure shock that a contender would lose 3 out of 4 left me shaking my head until they finally showed the Brewers and Cubs highlights.

Let's face it, Arizona is lucky to be in contention at this stage, as they have been outscored. Boston is still 2.5 games up on the Yankees, and are 7 games ahead of the Tigers for the final playoff spot, so they have nothing to be worried about. The way the media acts, you'd think they were on the cusp of missing the playoffs.

I also had to laugh that the Mets had a 40 minute pre-game meeting and promptly went out and lost again to DC. If those meetings worked, every team would have one every day. You play 162 games, you're going to go through some bad stretches, and what often happens is, that bad stretch coincides with you running into a pitcher or two throwing well, and suddenly, you've lost 4 or 5 in a row and the sky is falling.


9/19/2007 12:23:00 PM



(9/19/2007 12:20:00 PM) - Al

Rookie Joe Thatcher, one of three minor league pitchers acquired from the Brewers for reliever Scott Linebrink, has an ERA of 0.75 ERA in 14 games. The left-hander has held right-handers to a .100 batting average and left-handers to a .214 mark. “He doesn't back away from competition,” Balsley said. “He wants the ball. He throws strikes. He's got an arm angle that you don't see out of many left-handers – straight sidearm.”

Channel 4 San Diego announced it would televise tomorrow afternoon's game against Pittsburgh at 12:35 p.m. The move was made because Channel 4 expects to lose the Sept. 29 game at Milwaukee to Fox.


Hat tip to Andy, who sent me this link. I'm sure many will be unhappy about the Saturday game, which is the always popular Fan Appreciation Night (soon to be Day). I can't imagine Thatcher will have a whole lot of long-term success versus RH's throwing sidearm, but he will be tough on LH bats.


9/19/2007 12:20:00 PM


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

(9/18/2007 09:01:00 PM) - Al

Dennis Sarfate sure underachieved this year in Nashville, as he looked outstanding tonight, 97 consistently with that big breaking ball, just like he showed last September.

He can be a solid major league contributor, but I assume his head will get in the way, as it has done for the past couple years.


9/18/2007 09:01:00 PM



(9/18/2007 09:00:00 PM) - Al

Although some Houstonians want the Astrodome demolished by 2009 or 2010, to be replaced by a large parking lot for the other structures of Reliant Park, city council has rejected that plan for environmental reasons. They reasoned that demolition of the Dome might damage the dense development that today closely surrounds it. Being the world's first domed stadium, historic preservationists may also object to the landmark being demolished, although it is not yet included on the National Register of Historic Places.

I was shocked to hear the Astrodome was still standing, and now, even moreso. What a waste.


9/18/2007 09:00:00 PM



(9/18/2007 08:25:00 PM) - Al

Murdoch creating publicity for FBN, but he is a master of it.

I really enjoy CNBC, but look forward to the results competition will bring. I have not heard if Charter will pick up FBN, or if it will be on the basic tier, but I can hope.


9/18/2007 08:25:00 PM



(9/18/2007 08:23:00 PM) - Al

Mike sends along this profile of Dr. James Andrews, quite possibly the finest sports surgeon the world has ever known.


9/18/2007 08:23:00 PM



(9/18/2007 08:07:00 PM) - Al

Ryan Braun picked a bad ballpark to hit a ball 430 feet, but Prince drives him in with a 150 footer.


9/18/2007 08:07:00 PM



(9/18/2007 07:36:00 PM) - Al

Horrible break with Sheets going down, a seemingly minor "twinge", but with only a pair of starts left, might well be enough to end his regular season. That said, both Vargas and Capuano are better than many team's 5th starter, so I doubt anyone, least of all the Cubs, will feel a bit of sympathy for the Crew.


9/18/2007 07:36:00 PM



(9/18/2007 07:12:00 PM) - Al

I finally got into Sharebuilder, and my bank and Wal Mart heavy portfolio was way up today, far more than even the market's superb day.

Once again, this proves the old saying, "I was not incorrect, I was just early".


9/18/2007 07:12:00 PM



(9/18/2007 06:46:00 PM) - Al

The Crew will break their 6 year-old attendance record, per Don Walker.

I tell you what, anyone that could have seen this coming is remarkably intelligent.:)

3M will happen soon as well. You can see the writing on the wall.


9/18/2007 06:46:00 PM



(9/18/2007 01:17:00 PM) - Al

Hey Al,

Longtime reader here.

I have just a quick question.... call me sentimental... but it's sad knowing that the Jenkins era is about to end at Miller Park. It's not a happy time knowing another fan favorite (off and on of course), and longest tenured Brewer is on his way out.

Any chance Jenkins comes back at a discount to stay with a winning team? I know, he wants to start, MIL wont make any promises while offering a major pay cut....still.

I figure he'll leave to platoon for a contender in 2008 or he'll sign a bloated contract for a perennial loser like Pittsburgh looking for a solid veteran presence (like Randa/Burnitz in 2006).

Thoughts?

Later,

Allen


I would agree with your summary, and that Geoff may be invited back at $3-5M for '08. He would seem to have a more bloated value to a team that needs a LH hitting corner OF, and has no "can't field" or "cancer" baggage, so he'll probably get double that from someone on the open market.

I see him fitting in nicely in Arlington myself...


9/18/2007 01:17:00 PM



(9/18/2007 11:53:00 AM) - Al

Roger Simon tells how OJ's first trial changed his political views, which led to 9/11 doing the same.

It's ironic that I also tend to view those two events as changing points as well. I'm still outraged by both, while others seem to look at them as outliers. I'm still personally offended by idiot blowhards who publicly say 9/11 was just another terrorist attack and there's nothing you can do about it.

I have even stronger hatred for OJ and the dozen loons who, as Simon points out, simply ignored the fact that the DNA at the scene could not have been left by another human being on the planet. I don't really have much anger or disgust for the lawyers...they were doing their best to defend an obviously guilty man, which is their job, but I would have been chuckling numerous times at the silly fiction being thrown haphazardly at the wall, hoping one of them stuck. Because of pure ignorance of 3rd and 4th grade science, the jury did not get it, I guess, leading to a verdict that any movie or TV show would have never aired due to the off-the-scale ridiculousness of it.


9/18/2007 11:53:00 AM



(9/18/2007 11:35:00 AM) - Al

Eight other WTO members, including the European Union, Australia and Japan, are now lining up to claim compensation from the United States over online gaming. "The EU is almost licking its chops," says Antigua's lawyer Mendel. "In total, this could come to $100 billion in sanctions. " Giant American bricks-and-mortar casinos like Harrah's and MGM are making plans to move into the online sector as soon as the U.S. trade stance becomes clear.

They could get a sign as early as this week. Sept. 22 is the first WTO deadline for America to cut a deal with Antigua and the other nations. But one WTO insider predicts that the only announcement on that day will be that the deadline has been extended. "This won't happen fast; America is going to dig its heels in," says Sallie James, trade-policy analyst at Washington's Cato Institute. "But if I had to bet, I would say that by this time next year America will have changed its laws." And in this case, that means all bets will be on.


Read the whole thing here, hat tip to Iggy.


For those of us who miss the days of having so many bonuses to do you had to pick and choose the good ones and let the mediocre ones expire, a return to the "good old days" would be very, very welcome. Not to mention, many of the bad players have left because of the hoops Americans now have to jump through.


9/18/2007 11:35:00 AM



(9/18/2007 11:22:00 AM) - Al

A story about how bankruptcy helped this business owner. I have little doubt he is 100% accurate, as I have known several people who have filed and have credit and financial stability back within a couple years.

There will always be a stigma with filing, but in many cases, it is still by far the best option, especially if health issues or a business venture gone bad plays a part in your financial problems.


9/18/2007 11:22:00 AM



(9/18/2007 09:41:00 AM) - Al

I've got a bit of a bug today, so I may be posting some during the day. That said, still haven't caught a cold in 9+ months!


9/18/2007 09:41:00 AM



(9/18/2007 09:33:00 AM) - Al

Did it look tonight like Houston has thrown in the towel on this season? I know that Lee isn't known for hustle but even for him that was bad. Ditto Wigginton's half-hearted attempt to catch the ball that Pence threw. Not impressive.:)

Mike


I certainly do not expect guys like Lee or Wigginton to be diving into the stands after foul balls at this stage, but Carlos especially looks to be playing at half-speed. To be honest, the only one who will suffer because of it is Cecil Cooper, as Lee will get his money regardless. Who knows, Lee might well be banged up at this point as well.

One thing many people kind of ignore when talking about Yost is I can't say I ever recall getting an e-mail that read like this during the Brewers' many "playing out the string" Septembers, though my memory may have faded.


9/18/2007 09:33:00 AM



(9/18/2007 09:25:00 AM) - Al

Al,

Do you think Houston has any "responsibility" to play their best lineup versus the Brewers, or do you think they are within their rights to give kids playing time when playing the Cubs and Brewers?


The Astros only responsibility is to do what's best for the Astros.

That said, the only reason anyone should question their motives is if they went with kids versus the Crew and vets versus the Cubs, or vice versa. One of these young SP's might lay a 3 hit, 7 inning performance on the Brewers, and we all know how unlikely Woody Williams is to do that. HOU probably should shift into a "tear it all down" rebuilding mode, but they are on the hook for a huge sum to the trio of Lee, Berkman, and Oswalt, so even with a shift to kids, they'll have a $80M payroll, so it will be a tough sell.


9/18/2007 09:25:00 AM



(9/18/2007 09:14:00 AM) - Al

One thing that has become apparent in the closing weeks of the season is that young right-handers Carlos Villanueva and Gallardo will be in the starting rotation at the start of the 2008 season. Toss in veteran holdovers Ben Sheets and Jeff Suppan and you've got four-fifths of your rotation.--Tom H, JS

That's some rare insight from Tom H, though he goes back to being himself by forgetting to mention Dave Bush as a possibility for the 5th spot. I hate to talk too much about 2008 with the race going on, but I have to believe that of Capuano, Bush, Vargas, and Parra; Manny will likely begin the year in AAA or the bullpen, and that if the '08 season started today (now that would be strange), my guess is that Cappy would be the #5 guy and Bush would be a $3M long reliever and more importantly, the 6th starter; with Vargas likely being dealt over the winter.

While it seems odd to pay your 6th SP like that, the Crew does have some flexibility with so many young players making near minimum (and Jenkins $9M drops off the books). Every team needs 6-7 capable SP's, and for some reason, I feel Bush could be a "Jim Slaton" type, though in the NL, that role isn't as important.

As I often say, it's a nice problem to have.:)


9/18/2007 09:14:00 AM


Monday, September 17, 2007

(9/17/2007 09:33:00 PM) - Al

Here's the game thread from the Brewers' site yesterday...prepare to lose a few brain cells, my friends.


9/17/2007 09:33:00 PM



(9/17/2007 09:09:00 PM) - Al

This was a mammoth fall from well up the "gorgeous blonde" scale...astoundingly, Mindy used to date Dean Cain and look like this.


9/17/2007 09:09:00 PM



(9/17/2007 08:03:00 PM) - Al

Al,

First of all, I love the blog, I check it out several times a day. I never realized how much people irritated me with stuff like "Do you think Prince will be back next year or leave as a free agent"?

I was wondering, do you think it is possible the Brewers will just decide to stay in house and go with a Gross/Dillon platoon next year in LF?

Andy


I will cover this more after the season Andy, but I will briefly answer you now...it is possible.

Two weeks ago, I would have said "No", and not bothered putting it on Ramblings. I have been of the opinion the Crew will look for a FA stopgap in LF, but I admit, those two would be a cheap option and probably produce similar numbers to Geoff and Kevin. It would also allow the Crew to spend on relievers (possibly Cordero or Linebrink, in addition to others), and keep Gwynn as a reserve as well.

Good question.


9/17/2007 08:03:00 PM



(9/17/2007 07:57:00 PM) - Al

Third baseman Ryan Braun said he would play during the Jewish holy day Yom Kippur this weekend in Atlanta. Braun's father is Jewish, but his mother is a Catholic and said he had not observed that holy day in the past.

"I don't really celebrate the (Jewish) holidays so it won't be much of an issue with me," Braun said. "Growing up half-Jewish, half-Catholic, I've never really celebrated one holiday over the other."

Yom Kippur begins at sundown Friday and continues to sundown Saturday, and Jews are supposed to fast during that period, including drinking no water. The Brewers play a night game Friday and an afternoon game Saturday against the Braves.--JS


Obviously he would be allowed to if he so chose, but it does not look like it it an issue.


9/17/2007 07:57:00 PM



(9/17/2007 07:03:00 PM) - Al

"Errors should not be the criteria," Oakland Manager Bob Geren said. "Fielding percentage is one of the worst averages there is. It doesn't tell you anything about range, positioning.

Hat tip to Aaron Gleeman. Can you imagine someone sitting next to Bill Schroeder or Tom Haudricourt telling them this exact quote on some sort of panel show? They'd stammer around and ask if the person if they were some sort of new age geek.


9/17/2007 07:03:00 PM



(9/17/2007 06:57:00 PM) - Al

Restricted free agent guard Charlie Bell has received a five-year, $18 million offer from the Miami Heat, according to National Basketball Association sources.

The Milwaukee Bucks will have one week to match the offer or relinquish the rights to Bell.

Bell said on Saturday that he did not wish to return to the Bucks. Milwaukee had offered a three-year, $9 million contract to the former Michigan State player.


That seems like an easy choice to me, Bell is not that old and $3.6M per is pennies in the NBA.


9/17/2007 06:57:00 PM


Sunday, September 16, 2007

(9/16/2007 06:45:00 PM) - Al

As I was having my best day of online poker ever, it was an enjoyable game to watch between hands as well. Carlos V seemingly cementing a rotation spot for 2008, and as I said earlier, Yost with some astounding lineup construction, pulling Counsell and Dillon out of his hat and watching them contribute to the win (Hall as well mind you, but with Gross cooling down, I would even say it's possibly overdue).

I am not going to start penciling together the 25 man roster for 2008 until after the 2007 campaign ends for the Crew, but it's getting harder and harder not to have CV and Yo in the rotation, as well as Dillon as a utility guy. Joe can play 5 spots, runs well for a guy with pop, and has a nice compact swing.


9/16/2007 06:45:00 PM


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